Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/115

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says the dignity of this House is in question. Do you mean that I can injure the dignity of this House?—this House which has stood unrivaled for centuries?—this House, supreme among the assemblies of the world?—this House, which represents the traditions of liberty? I should not have libeled you.

How is the dignity of this House to be hurt? If what happened before the ninth day of April is less than a legal disqualification, it is a matter for the judgment of the constituency and not for you. The constituency has judged me; it has elected me; I stand here with no legal disqualification upon me. The right of the constituency to return me is an unimpeachable right.

I know some gentlemen make light of constituencies; yet without the constituencies you are nothing. It is from them you derive your whole and sole authority. The honorable and learned member for Plymouth treats lightly the legal question. It is dangerous to make light of the law—dangerous, because if you are only going to rely on your strength of force to override the law, you give a bad lesson to men whose morality you impeach as to what should be their duty if emergency ever came. Always outside the House I have advocated strenuous obedience to the law, and it is under that law that I claim my right.

I claim to do that which the law says I must. Frankly, I would rather have affirmed. When